4 months ago
Admissions Advice

BA v BS in Business/Economics

I know that one is much more theoretical for lack of a better term and one is more hands-on. Tha hands-on is for entering the workforce with a bachelor's and theoretical is graduate programs. Which is BA and which is BS?


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Accepted Answer
4 months ago

The B.A. has a liberal arts focus and emphasizes the applied and policy aspects of economics.

The B.S. is attractive to the more mathematically oriented student.

In practice, depending on the college you apply to you can pick whether you want to get a B.A. or B.S in Economics. For example, Syracuse University where my dad did undergrad you can apply for either.


Also at Syracuse, you could apply for a dual major getting your Econ major at the Maxwell School and your Business major at the Whitman School.

But at Columbia where I'm going, every undergrad degree including Economics is a B.A, and not a B.S. including those that have a concentration in Math, Stats, Philosophy or PolySci.

And in general, if you apply to Business Colleges your Business degree in Finance, Marketing, Accounting, Statistics, Supply Chain, Entrepreneurship, Business Analytics, etc will be a B.S. degree and not a B.A. degree.

So if you are interested in any kind of business degree, there will be some overlap with Economics. For instance at Syracuse, (my dad had to take 4 Econ classes as a core requirement), now it's down to 2. And at Wharton, I believe you only have to take 1 Econ class out of 37 required classes.

If you don't know what area of business you want to major in or get a graduate degree in then studying Econ is a great undergraduate degree. But if you know that you want to be an Accountant, the getting a B.S. Accounting makes more sense. Furthermore, Econ and Accounting do not have much of professional overlap. I would say the 2 or 3 closest business majors that use economic teachings are Statistics, Business Analytics, and Finance. However, if you want to work on Wall Street as a derivatives trader or work for a hedge fund, then I would say the dual majors or dual degrees that make the most sense are Finance/Math, Finance/Engineering, Finance/Physics or Finance/CS since the best traders use STEM principles.

Hope that is useful.


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